June 30

Patriot Tales-Stories of American Independence

Patriot Tales-Stories of American Independence

By Deborah Johnson

June 30, 2023

American Independence, American Patriots, Benjamin Franklin, Constitution, Deborah Johnson, founding fathers, George Washington, Independence Day, James Madison, John Adams, July 4, Patriots, podcast, Thomas Jefferson

While the story of American Independence began before the date we now commemorate as Independence Day, it was on July 4, 1776, that the Second Continental Congress, acting on behalf of the thirteen American colonies, formally adopted the Declaration of Independence—an important document authored by Thomas Jefferson. This momentous occasion marked the formal separation of the colonies from British rule and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation. The Declaration of Independence eloquently proclaimed the inherent rights of all individuals, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, while enumerating grievances against King George III. It states:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights governments are instituted among men.”

This courageous act of asserting self-governance and embracing democratic principles became a cornerstone in American history, inspiring future generations and serving as a beacon of freedom around the world. Today, July 4th is celebrated as Independence Day, a national holiday that honors the birth of the United States and the enduring values it represents.

There were of those who demonstrate deep love, loyalty, and devotion towards their country that we call patriots, who fought long and hard to make the dream of American independence a reality. The concept of patriotism embodies a sense of unity, shared responsibility, and a commitment to the welfare and progress of one's homeland. Among the numerous historical tales of genuine patriots, we focus on five notable figures here who made significant contributions to the birth of the United States, including former presidents and signers of the Constitution such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison.

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George Washington

Washington (1732-1799) rose to national prominence in 1754 when his attempts to prevent the French and Indian War garnered attention. Following that, he was commissioned as a colonel of a Virginia regiment. As tensions with Great Britain escalated, Washington emerged as a distinguished patriot leader. In 1774, he became a member of the original Continental Congress, and the following year, he was entrusted with the momentous responsibility of being appointed Commander-in-Chief of the American forces. Throughout the Revolutionary War, Washington's unwavering determination and strategy earned him the title of the Indomitable General.

After the successful culmination of the war, Washington's leadership qualities and dedication to the cause of independence were widely recognized. In a remarkable display of national trust, he was unanimously elected as the first President of the United States, serving two terms. Washington's presidency was marked by his steady guidance and his pivotal role in establishing the foundations of the fledgling nation. His commitment to unity, the rule of law, and the preservation of republican ideals contributed significantly to shaping the young United States.

Despite his towering achievements, Washington remained modest and humble in his demeanor. He often acknowledged the guiding hand of a higher power, stating, "I have only been an instrument in the hands of Providence." This sentiment encapsulated his recognition that his accomplishments were not solely a result of his individual efforts but were intertwined with larger forces at work. Washington's life and legacy continue to serve as an enduring symbol of leadership, fortitude, and selfless dedication to the ideals of liberty and independence.

Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson (1743-1826), from Virginia, dedicated nearly six decades of his life to public service. His involvement in the political sphere began with his membership in the Continental Congress, where he played a pivotal role as both a signer and the primary author of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson's journey continued as he was elected governor of Virginia, followed by his appointment as Secretary of State under President Washington and his subsequent role as Vice President under John Adams. Eventually, he was elected as the third President of the United States, serving two terms.

Jefferson's intellectual prowess was renowned, and his prolific writing skills led to the drafting of numerous reports, resolutions, legislation, and other official documents, surpassing that of any other Founding Father. Jefferson deeply understood the importance of writing, expression, and the dissemination of ideas through various mediums such as literature, journalism, and discourse in promoting and safeguarding liberty. Throughout his career, he remained committed to championing the fundamental principles of freedom.

Jefferson's dedication to liberty extended beyond his involvement in politics. He introduced various measures aimed at the abolition of slavery, although they were ultimately defeated. However, he did manage to sign a law prohibiting the importation of slaves into the United States after 1808. Additionally, Jefferson fervently advocated for religious freedom, emphasizing that the First Amendment's principle of "separating Church and State" was not intended to infringe upon individuals' religious beliefs or expressions. Instead, it aimed to protect against state interference in matters of faith. The influence of Jefferson's views on the separation of church and state is particularly evident in the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation, which affirms that the purpose of this separation is to safeguard rather than restrict public religious expressions.

John Adams

Adams (1735-1826) began his career as a schoolteacher and attorney. John Adams was one of the Founding Fathers, serving two terms as vice president under George Washington and helped frame the Bill of Rights, explaining inalienable rights that are God-given rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws. These are unalienable rights that belong to each and every individual of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In addition, there is the right to own private property, freedom of religion, freedom of speed, justice in the court system and the right to keep and bear arms. These were all very important as they claimed freedom from Britain with heavy taxation and ownership.

American Independence-Declaration of Independence

Adams then became the second President of the United States, the first president to occupy the White House. He was sent as an original delegate to the 1774 Continental Congress and was a signatory of the Declaration of Independence. He wrote to his wife regarding the meaning of his signature:

“I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this declaration.” His words have never been more true.

Adams was a passionate advocate for independence with his critical role in drafting the Constitution, and his unwavering dedication to safeguarding the newly formed nation's democratic principles.

Benjamin Franklin

Franklin (1706-1790) possessed a remarkable array of skills and talents, excelling in various fields as a statesman, educator, philanthropist, author, inventor, scientist, and printer. Notably, he was one of the select group of Founding Fathers who proudly affixed their signatures to both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Franklin's contributions to the advancement of society were multifaceted and encompassed diverse spheres.

One of Franklin's significant endeavors was his involvement in the abolitionist movement. He played a key role in establishing America's first abolition society, advocating for the eradication of slavery. Recognizing the profound injustice of denying education to black Americans under British policies, Franklin established a chain of schools. These institutions aimed to teach Christianity and provide academic instruction to black Americans, offering them opportunities that had been systematically withheld from them.

In addition to his endeavors in social progress, Franklin made groundbreaking contributions as an inventor and scientist. His experiments with electricity were instrumental in advancing the understanding of this natural phenomenon and exploring its potential applications. Franklin's inventions were wide-ranging and diverse, spanning from the nation's first library to the creation of a fire department and hospital. He also invented practical devices such as the Franklin Stove, lightning rod, and bifocals, among many others. Remarkably, Franklin chose not to patent his inventions, opting instead to dedicate them to the public domain for the benefit of all. Franklin's achievements continue to inspire generations, illustrating the power of intellectual curiosity, invention, and the selfless desire to contribute to the common good.

James Madison

Madison (1751-1836) distinguished himself early on by graduating from Princeton University shortly before the American Revolution. Subsequently, he emerged as a prominent state leader, actively contributing to the drafting of the 1776 Virginia constitution. Madison's involvement in public service continued as he served in the state legislature and the Continental Congress, gaining valuable experience in governance and shaping his vision for a stronger national government.

Madison's became one of the architects of the Constitution, often hailed as the "Father of the Constitution," promoting the idea for a robust central government while simultaneously safeguarding individual liberties and the autonomy of the states. Madison's contributions were instrumental in shaping the structure, powers, and balance of the federal government as outlined in the Constitution.

Following the completion of the Constitution, Madison collaborated with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay to write a series of influential essays known as the Federalist Papers. These essays aimed to rally support and secure the formal legal approval, or ratification, of the Constitution by addressing concerns and clarifying its principles. The Federalist Papers became a vital resource in garnering public support and dispelling doubts about the proposed system of government.

Continuing his dedication to protecting individual liberties, Madison played a crucial role in framing the Bill of Rights. These ten amendments to the Constitution solidified the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms, ensuring their explicit recognition and safeguarding against potential encroachments by the federal government. Madison then served as Secretary of State under President Thomas Jefferson, ultimately assuming the presidency, becoming the fourth President of the United States.

American Independence

The attainment of American Independence is indebted to the tireless efforts of numerous patriot leaders and the bravery of those who fought valiantly on land and sea to secure our unalienable rights and freedom. It is imperative that we never underestimate the significance of this achievement and that we continuously express our gratitude towards those who have made immense sacrifices on our behalf. May we always cherish the hard-won liberties we enjoy and remain forever indebted to those who have selflessly dedicated themselves to the cause of freedom.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow: This acclaimed biography offers a detailed and in-depth exploration of George Washington's life and leadership. Chernow provides valuable insights into Washington's character, his military campaigns, and his significant contributions to American freedom.

The Founder's Bible: The Origin of The Dream of Freedom by David Barton explores the religious and philosophical influences that shaped the beliefs and values of America's Founding Fathers, highlighting the biblical foundation of their vision for freedom and self-governance.

1776 by David McCullough: This highly acclaimed book provides a comprehensive account of the pivotal year in American history when the nation declared its independence from Britain.

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson: Considered one of the most comprehensive and authoritative biographies of Benjamin Franklin, this book delves into the multifaceted life of the Founding Father. Isaacson skillfully explores Franklin's diverse roles as a scientist, inventor, diplomat, and political leader, offering valuable insights into his intellect, wit, and enduring influence on American history.

The Constitutional Convention: A Narrative History from the Notes of James Madison by James Madison and Edward J. Larson: Offering a unique perspective on the creation of the United States Constitution, this book presents the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention through the detailed notes of James Madison.

The concept of patriotism embodies a sense of unity, shared responsibility, and a commitment to the welfare and progress of one's homeland.

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Deborah Johnson

About the author

DEBORAH JOHNSON, M.A., creator of Hero Mountain® and former president of Los Angeles National Speakers Association, is an international award-winning music artist, author, speaker and National Media Commentator. She also hosts the popular podcast "Women at Halftime." Deborah provides tools to create your ideal lifestyle and work at mid-career or during the halftime of life, getting unstuck. You can live your second half fulfilled, focused and free! Up for multiple GRAMMY Awards and spending over 20 years in the entertainment industry, she's an expert on how to constantly reinvent yourself in a gig-economy. She is also the recipient of the Women's Economic Forum Exceptional Women of Excellence Award. Deborah is the author of multiple books, over twenty albums and musicals and speaks and performs in both live and virtual events.

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